[This post is a hive of scum and SPOILERS for The Last Jedi.]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s final scene is an iconic shot that ties a bunch of the movie’s wayward plot lines pretty neatly. After Rey saves all of the Resistance survivors by levitating a bunch of rocks like she’s the Avatar or something, we’re back at Canto Bight with the little kids who helped Rose and Finn. We see them playing with a few homemade Star Wars action figures, and then one walks off, uses the Force to grab a broom, and looks out into the night, holding it like a lightsaber. The Resistance may have lost, retreated, been very close to losing all of their members, and abandoned by the rest of the galaxy, but a new generation of Force-sensitives are ready to take up the mantle. And that ending almost didn’t make it into the movie.

Rian Johnson gave a few insights to Empire about what he was going for with a few key moments in the movie. He revealed that The Last Jedi almost ended with the Resistance boarding the Millennium Falcon and flying off into the sunset.

To me, it was really important to have that final scene, because it turns what Luke did from an act that saves 20 people into an act that inspires the galaxy. The notion that what we’re setting up here is something big in the next chapter. And when Leia says, ‘we have everything we need,’ she’s talking about everyone on the Falcon, but also about what we see next, which is we now have a galaxy that has seen this beacon of hope and is getting inspired to fight the good fight.

That was something I really stuck to, and believe me, we went back and forth in the editing room. In the script, when I wrote that scene in the Falcon, I wrote the words, ‘this seems like the perfect image to end on.’

It’s a good thing he did keep it in, because without it Rose and Finn’s side quest would have a little less of a point, and the end of the movie wouldn’t have such a hopeful note.

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